A Virginia woman says she’s feared for her life since conspiracy theorists accused her of starting the coronavirus pandemic. Maatie Benassi, an Army reservist and mother of two, has been targeted by conspiracy theorists in China, where she’s been identified on social media as patient zero. “It’s like waking up from a bad dream going into a nightmare day after day,” Benassi says. “Every time you’re going to Google my name, it will pop up as patient zero.” The claim appears to stem from Benassi’s visit to Wuhan, China for the Military World Games. After breaking a rib during a cycling competition, she had to be hospitalized — and somehow, that lead conspiracy theorists to believe she put the coronavirus into circulation.
Although Benassi has never tested positive for the virus, that hasn’t stopped dozens of videos appearing on Chinese social media that place the blame on her. Benassi’s husband, Matt, says there’s nothing he and his wife can do about it, either. “You quickly realize that for folks like us, it’s just too expensive to litigate something like this,” he says. “We get no recourse from law enforcement. We get no recourse from the courts.”
When a person is the first to be diagnosed with an illness, does that mean he or she spread it intentionally? Have you ever been falsely accused of something?
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